Drug scandals can have a devastating impact on an artist’s career, especially in South Korea, where drug laws are notoriously strict. This article will explore drug scandals involving Korean celebrities, substance abuse in the Korean entertainment industry, and the legal consequences for celebrities in South Korea.
G-Dragon from BigBang
G-Dragon, a cornerstone of K-pop’s second generation, faced a drug scandal that left fans stunned. He admitted to drug use in 2011 and received a suspended sentence. His media appearances are still restricted on some TV stations, including KBS and EBS. This case is one of the high-profile drug cases in Korean media.
Recently, G-Dragon was booked by the authorities on drug-related charges. He subsequently released a statement denying the allegations. Click on the links below to go to the individual stories:
T.O.P from BigBang
T.O.P., another influential member of BigBang, confessed to using marijuana multiple times in 2016. He faced a 10-month suspended sentence and lost his position as a conscripted policeman due to the scandal. This is another example of drug-related controversies in K-pop.
Lee Sun-Kyun, celebrated for his role in the Oscar-winning movie Parasite, allegedly participated in drug abuse. Incheon Police confirmed his marijuana use and subsequent payments to his drug dealer. His agency, HODU&U Entertainment, is currently verifying these allegations. This incident adds to the list of Korean drama actors and drug scandals.
Jung Il-Hoon from BtoB
Jung Il-hoon, formerly a member of BtoB, received a two-year prison sentence and a 133 million won fine for multiple marijuana offences. Prosecutors indicated that he used sophisticated methods to conceal his activities, adding to the list of drug laws affecting K-pop stars.
Psy, globally known for Gangnam Style, faced arrest for illegal marijuana consumption in 2001. He admitted his guilt and paid a US$5,000 fine. Despite the scandal, his career rebounded successfully, showing that even Korean idols and marijuana use can be a complex issue.
Ju Ji-Hoon, renowned for Netflix’s Kingdom, confessed to using MDMA and ketamine in 2009. He received a six-month suspended sentence and a fine but continued to enjoy fan support as medical tests returned negative. This case is another example of Korean actors and substance abuse.
Yoo Ah-In, famous for the Netflix series Hellbound, was accused of using multiple drugs. He tested positive for cannabis but claimed that he used other drugs solely for medical purposes. The case remains ongoing and adds to the list of drug-related suspensions in K-pop.
Yoochun from TVXQ
Yoochun, a former member of TVXQ and later part of the trio JYJ, faced arrest on drug charges. He tested positive for a use drug called Philopon, also known as Japanese methamphetamine. Yoochun received a sentence of 2 years of probation and a fine of ₩1.4 million won. This case is one of the notable Korean celebrity drug investigations.
Soloist Bumkey, previously a member of 2winS and Troy, was arrested on charges of selling Philopon and ecstasy. However, he was later cleared of all charges due to a lack of substantial evidence, adding another layer to the drug use in the South Korean entertainment scene.
Daniel from DMTN
Daniel, a member of DMTN, was arrested for suspicion of selling and using marijuana. He later admitted to aiding in marijuana distribution but not directly selling or using it. Daniel received a 1-year jail sentence, later reduced to 3 years of probation, and a fine of ₩7.1 million KRW. This case adds to the list of K-pop stars facing legal action.
Strict Korean drug laws have made these scandals especially damaging for the involved celebrities. The taboo surrounding drug use is so ingrained within Korean society that once a celebrity falls from grace due to it, their careers will never be the same.
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